We’ve all sometimes felt ‘beside ourselves’, but have you ever felt that you were actually outside yourself – looking at yourself from outside your own body? Marta Paterlini talked to Henrik Ehrsson, a scientist studying this phenomenon.
Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) have fascinated people for millennia – their existence has raised fundamental questions about the relationship between human consciousness and the body, and has been much discussed in theology, philosophy and psychology. An OBE occurs when a person who is awake sees his or her own body from a location outside the physical body. OBEs have been reported in clinical conditions where brain function is compromised, such as stroke, epilepsy and drug abuse, or in association with traumatic experiences such as car accidents. Around one in ten people claim to have had an OBE at some point in their lives.
Exploring out-of-body experiences: interview with Henrik Ehrsson | Science in School